Shown vs. Showed: Difference Explained (Helpful Examples)

The past tense forms of irregular verbs like “to show” can be tricky. However, they’re all simple enough once you understand the differences between the simple past tense and the past participle. This article will explore the past tense of show.

Shown or Showed: Which Is Correct?

“Shown” is the past participle of the verb “to show,” while “showed” is the simple past tense. Both past tense forms are correct, and we can use them in different ways to impact the overall meaning of the sentence and how someone interacted with an event in the past.

Shown or Showed: Which Is Correct?
  • I have shown you everything you need to see.
  • I showed you that you were worth it.

You should refer to the following to help you understand the forms:

VerbShow
PastShowed
Past ParticipleShown
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When Is “Showed” Correct?

“Showed” is the simple past tense. We include the word “simple” here to show you that there aren’t a lot of rules that we add on top of it.

“Showed” works when talking about “showing” something in the past. It means the event has already taken place, and there’s nothing more that we can do to impact it in the present.

We always keep the form of “showed” the same. Unlike present tense verb forms, which different pronouns might affect (i.e., “he shows” and “I show”), the past tense stays the same no matter what.

  • I showed
  • He showed
  • We showed
  • It showed

Example Sentences Using “Showed”

“Showed” is the past tense form of “to show,” and we call it “simple” for a reason. Here are some examples to show you how it works:

  1. I showed you everything that I could do already.
  2. You showed me what I was missing, and I thank you for that.
  3. He showed me a lot in our short time together.
  4. We showed them we were made of tougher stuff than they realized.
  5. She showed me that I didn’t mean much to her at all.
  6. They showed that it wasn’t just about them, but about the whole family.

“Showed” works when talking about someone “showing” something in the past. Usually, the action has already taken place, and it’s a way of people thinking back to the past and how it happened.

When Is “Shown” Correct?

“Shown” is a little more intricate than the above portion, so you might want to pay attention. However, once you know the past participle rules for one verb, you know them for most verbs.

“Shown” is the past participle of “to show.” We cannot use it on its own correctly in a sentence. Instead, we must use it with an auxiliary verb like “have.” This turns it into a perfect tense, which is the only case where past participles are ever correct.

Just like the simple past tense, there is never a reason to change the form of “shown.” It stays the same no matter what pronoun or tense we use. Instead, we change the form of the auxiliary verb based on the tense we use.

  • Past perfect: Had shown
  • Present perfect: Have shown
  • Future perfect: Will have shown

As you can see, “have” turns into the past tense “had” when using it as the past perfect tense. We also include “will” alongside it when talking in the future perfect tense about events that have yet to take place.

These are the only things you need to focus on when using the past participle. However, it would also help to understand what the perfect tenses mean and how they interact differently with the sentence’s meaning.

Example sentences using “Shown”

Since “shown” comes with a few extra rules, we’ll break this portion into sections. You should have a much better understanding when you can see all the perfect tenses broken down into sections.

Past Perfect

  1. I had shown that I was willing to put in the work before they hired me.
  2. He had shown a great passion for the project that was unlike anything we had seen before.

“Had shown” works when someone “shows” something in the past. We use the past perfect tense to show the order of how things took place in the past, and “showing” usually happens before another event when used in this way.

Present Perfect

  1. I have shown that I’m capable of helping out in a pinch.
  2. You have shown me a lot of things that I didn’t know were possible!

“Have shown” works when someone “shows” something at some point in the past. The present perfect tense then shows that the action continues or finishes in the present (or only a few seconds ago, depending on the context).

Future Perfect

  1. I will have shown what I’m capable of if you just give me a little more time!
  2. You will have shown us everything by the time we’re done if you keep this up.

“Will have shown” works to talk about someone “showing” something in the future. We use the future perfect tense to talk about the likely event of something happening to someone at a future date, and there’s some kind of guarantee of that happening based on our actions.

“Have Showed” Vs. “Have Shown”

Through this article, we’ve shown you that “have shown” is correct. The present perfect tense is useful when saying that something started to happen in the past and continues in the present.

However, is there ever a case where “have showed” works? Can we use the simple past tense with the auxiliary “have?”

“Have showed” is never correct. “Showed” is the simple past tense, which cannot be correct when paired with an auxiliary verb. Some English learners believe it to be correct, but they would be wrong. “Showed” only works when someone has “shown” something in the past.

You should stick to the expected rules for the past participle and simple past tense. The rules make the following examples correct and incorrect:

  • Correct: You have shown great skill today, and I will consider you for the part.
  • Incorrect: We have showed that we are worthy of an audience with them.

Final Thoughts

“Shown” is the past participle, while “showed” is the simple past tense. Both tense forms are correct, but we need to understand how they differ from each other. There are no cases where “showed” should be used as the past participle, and only “shown” is correct.

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